In this second post of my workout series (the rest is here: 1 3 4 5 6), I'll talk a little about my diet. As mentioned before by many others, if one’s diet is not controlled, no amount of exercise will result in a lean muscular physique. That being said my personal experience shows that genetics play a huge part as well.
To start I cut down on sugar as much as possible by using artificial sweeteners (I drink a lot of sugar-free soda which is bad for the teeth due to the high acid content but that's another problem). The jury is still out on the harmfulness of artificial sweeteners like aspartame (e.g. them being carcinogenic) so as long as I’m not going overboard on that (which I don’t think I am) I should be alright. I also cut down on carbs like rice, bread and potato whenever possible since they are practically equivalent to sugar once digested. In addition if I can see visible oil or fat in my food, I'll go all out to remove it like trimming fat off raw meat before cooking or absorbing oil from fried food using paper.
Before you think that I’m an angel nutrition-wise I can tell you now that I’m not as I snack a lot on junk food! I don’t have a sweet tooth but if you throw me a packet of chips, I'll not stop till I finish the whole bag. Salty snacks are my kryptonite and like all superheros, we all have a weak point. This is why I think I have good genes because given how much junk I eat I should really not be able to maintain my six-pack abs. People also say that Asians get lean much easier than Caucasians which although I don’t really agree, I don’t have a strong argument to support my case given my lean built! One of the biggest reasons why I work out is because I love to eat. Calorie-consumption is a very good motivation to hit the gym but that can only work if you’re disciplined enough to stick to a routine in the first place. I also think that it’s unhealthy to deprive oneself of junk food as it makes a diet plan much more unsustainable. Human beings are programmed to like fatty, salty and sweet food so we have to give in once in a while! As long as I maintain a reasonable muscle load, I just need to control my diet more tightly two weeks before a shoot and I am good to go (which is something that I’ll do in preparation of my upcoming shoot in Singapore).
I have also tried fad diets like the Atkins diet once in an attempt to lose weight fast. Although this diet is really unbalanced, it worked for me (I think I lost about 3kgs in a week). The catch is you have to be very strict if you want it to work! I also tried 6 months of nothing but salad to try to bring my bad cholesterol level down (yes, I once had high cholesterol which is something even fit/lean people can be afflicted with so I encourage everyone to get tested). It was a hellish half a year but I managed to achieve my goal. The good thing about high cholesterol is that it is a reversible disease and there are not many out there like that!
The other big unhealthy fad out there is protein supplements which I believe is not necessary for the average gym-goer. Unless you train like a professional bodybuilder you’ll not be able to expend all the protein you take and as a result your body suffers from having to process that unused protein. I believe you can have enough protein from your daily diet if you choose your food well. In that way you don't have to succumb to the aggressive marketing techniques out there to sell you supplements that you don’t need and won’t achieve the promised results unless you train hard enough (which many don’t). Oh, and steroids. I know a lot of people do that but I'm afraid of needles and am a stingy bitch (they are expensive) so I stay clear of them. Also it is not a miracle drug–you still need to train very hard for it to work. Plus it's not without side effects which I'm not going to elaborate here–Google is your friend). At the end of the day diet fads come and go (e.g. the Paleolithic diet) and the tried-and-tested adage “everything in moderation” is the only golden rule everyone needs to know.
Well that’s enough talk about diets and it’s time for the videos! My next two clips feature traps and legs and if you want more you’d have to wait one more week!